Benjamin Percy’s The Dark Net is a floating signifier obsessed not only with never being nailed down but also with trying to cross-pollinate as many genres and subgenres as possible. At once a mystery narrative, a hardcore horror novel, a science fiction book, and a tale that deconstructs Portland while showing readers the absolute omnipresence of the internet in countries that are on the lucky side of the digital divide, this is the kind of novel that would make almost […]
With every new book of his, I find myself struggling to come up with new ways of praising Jeremy Robert Johnson. I do it in part because repetitiveness strikes me as lazy, but also because every book of his is wildly different from the previous one. As I’ve mentioned before (see how hard it is to keep it fresh?), Johnson is like Brian Evenson or Stephen Graham Jones in the sense that you never know what you’re going to get […]
In some cases, the ability to break away from the standard review becomes crucial in order to effectively convey how outstanding a work of fiction is. In the case of Jordan Harper’s She Rides Shotgun, I’ll skip the introduction and allow the writing to do the talking:
When discussing authors who possess the ability to seamlessly stitch together elements drawn from a plethora of genres to create something refreshing and new, Lauren Beukes, Brian Evenson, and Stephen Graham Jones quickly come to mind. Now, Bracken MacLeod has joined that list of very talented literary chameleons with his latest novel, Stranded, which pulls a variety of elements from adventure and survival narratives, horror, science fiction, and mystery to construct a bizarre and profound story about identity and the […]
You get in the car at 4:45am and start driving to Santa Fe because sometimes the only place you want to be is away and Santa Fe is as good a place as any to do just that. The night is quiet. It’s Thursday and only the hardcore kids are out and the streets are dark and Austin seems to be sleeping.
Few books walk the space inhabited by Simon Roy’s Kubrick Red. At once obsessive, dark, philosophical, academic, and touching, Kubrick Red is a bizarre memoir that manages to deconstruct and celebrate Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining while laying out the hardest moments of Roy’s life as well as the continuing impact the film has had in his life. The result is a book that jumps from childhood memories to scene analyses to hybrid/experimental literary territory to coping with the loss of […]
I was 19 and floating aimlessly in that post-high school miasma of uncertainty and misdirected angst. I was helping a drug dealer sell stolen jewelry near the beach when my friend Ricky showed up and invited me to hang out. We could go for a walk or pack a bowl or visit someone else or drive around or get food because everything was more or less the same to us and everything sounds good when you have no plans and […]
There is a profound, substantially nuanced relationship between people and the geography they inhabit. When it comes to rural noir, a good understanding of this correlation usually means the difference between a narrative that exudes authenticity and understanding and one that reads like something a well-off author from the suburbs wrote while he or she imagined life on the wrong side of the tracks. David Joy’s The Weight of This World belongs to the first group. Joy’s novel deals with […]